It’s almost that time of year again: Race Retro, Britain’s biggest celebration of historic motor sport roars back into life on February 24-26. And this year’s show, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is set to be bigger and better than ever with the help of Motor Sport. Since its inauguration in 2003 Race Retro has been a show in the traditional style – busy and bustling, with cars and motorbikes of every shape and size. It is one of the reasons we are thrilled to partner the event and add our own distinctive flavour. The show has always been a celebration of the best in historic motor sport, showcasing everything from single-seaters and rally cars to dragsters, classic bikes and hillclimb specials – and in 2017 it is poised to be better than ever, with a range of new features to complement popular staples such as the live rally stage and vibrant trade area.
The show takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry and our involvement reflects Motor Sport’s support for what we believe to be the best event of its kind. Here are a few forthcoming highlights, including an appearance by nine-time Le Mans winner and Goodwood star Tom Kristensen.
Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live
The clue is in the name: readers will be aware of Motor Sport’s annual Hall of Fame awards, and this is your chace to get up close and personal with some of the star names we have celebrated over the years. Across a massive 4,000 square feet the Motor Sport Hall of Fame Live area will feature inductees, nominees and the cars and bikes that made them famous.
Central themes include the 50th anniversary of the Cosworth DFV, with a display curated by Cosworth co-founder Mike Costin. Among the cars on show will be the Williams FW08 that carried Keke Rosberg to the world title in 1982, the last time a DFV powered the F1 champion.
We will also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Donington Park’s reopening. Having fallen into disuse after WW2, the Leicestershire circuit was purchased by Tom Wheatcroft in 1971 and embraced car racing once again in May 1977 – despite a last-minute scare when ramblers tried to assert their right to local walkways. A number of cars from Donington’s famous Grand Prix Collection will be on display, including one of the famous Vanwalls.
Perhaps the highlight will be the car featured on this month’s cover: the Lotus 33 chassis R11, which Jim Clark used as he romped to the 1965 world championship. The car has not been seen in public for more than 40 years, but forms part of a special Lotus tribute that also includes cars raced by Ayrton Senna, Graham, Hill and John Surtees.
Motor Sport Live Stage
As well as the Hall of Fame feature, Motor Sport will also be putting on a live stage show where visitors can meet key members of the magazine’s editorial team. It will also feature lively guest interviews and Q&A sessions and is a chance to hear from a range of people who have left their mark on the sport, including Tom Kristensen – the World Endurance Champion in 2013 and a man with a record-breaking nine Le Mans wins on his CV.
His confirmed fellow guests include Cosworth co-founder Mike Costin, legendary Jaguar design engineer Norman Dewis, long-time racer and perennial crowd favourite Barrie Williams and Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin and today managing director of Classic Team Lotus.
Live rally stage
Operational only on Saturday and Sunday, and located within the grounds of Stoneleigh Park, this features more than 70 classic rally bygones, including Opel Manta 400, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Peugeot 205 T16 Evo, Ford Escort Mexico, Mini Cooper, Audi Quattro, MG Metro 6R4, Renault 5 Turbo, Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, Subaru Impreza and Ford RS200.
Many of the drivers are at least as well known as the cars, the cast including British champions Jimmy McRae, Russell Brookes, Dai Llewellin and Mark Higgins, plus rising star Chris Ingram.
Commentary will be provided by Tony Mason, Roger Clark’s winning co-driver on the 1972 RAC Rally, and paid passenger rides will be available too.
Before each rally session the British Historic Kart Club will serve as the warm-up act, with up to 30 drivers zipping around the stage’s inner section.
A great new addition for 2017, Teenage Kicks highlights a new breed of younger drivers who are cutting their teeth in historic racing, yet who harbour dreams of becoming professionals in the longer term. The display focuses on the three youngest drivers competing in Historic Sports Car Club meetings, 17-year-old Benn Tilley and 16-year-olds James Clarke and Ed Thurston. Ed and Benn both race in the ultra-competitive Historic Formula Ford 1600 series, which will be in the spotlight in 2017 as FF1600 celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Silverstone Auctions’ twin sales
Following a successful 2016 at Race Retro, when it achieved total sales of £4.7 million, Silverstone Auctions returns this year with two events – one on Friday for competition cars, and the other across the weekend for classic cars, motorcycles and automobilia.
Entries for the former include the 1968 Chevrolet Camaro that Bill Shaw Racing ran for Roy Pierpoint in the 1970 British Saloon Car Championship (estimate £65,000-75,000), a 1989 Aston Martin AMR1 Group C car (£500,000-550,000) and a 1968 Ginetta G16 (£90,000-110,000).
Lots can be viewed throughout Friday, with the competition car sale beginning at 3pm. Viewing is also available from 9.30am on Saturday and Sunday, with automobilia and lifestyle items auctioned at 10.30am, followed by cars at 1.30pm on both days.
To gain access to the auction halls, visitors must purchase a catalogue from Silverstone Auctions (available on the door for £20, admitting two people).
Retro Classic Tour
As last year’s inaugural Retro Classic Tour, proved so popular, HERO will run the event once again on Saturday February 25.
Scrutineering takes place outside the main show entrance and cars will be on display to the public prior to the start. The tour covers approximately 140 miles, on an all-asphalt route, taking in scenic driving roads towards Oxford and surrounding area. The first car is due to leave at about 10am and return after 3pm.
Entries are limited to 60, cost £175 each (including admission tickets to Race Retro) and close on January 16. To get involved go to www.raceretro.com/show-features/race-retro-tour.
Drive A Classic car Experience
Think Kris Meeke is overrated? This gives visitors an exclusive opportunity to get behind the wheel of a professionally prepared rally car on Race Retro’s own rally stage and see how good they really are. Prices start at £35 per drive (Cortina GT, Triumph TR4, Lancia Zagato) and rise to £50 for cars such as the Porsche 911, Jaguar E-type, MGA and Lancia Delta.
Always one of Race Retro’s most popular features, the autojumble/trade area is packed with stalls selling everything from books and old race programmes to models, exhaust manifolds, radiators and all sorts of oddments in between. At the time of writing, more than 100 traders had already confirmed their attendance.
More to come…
And that’s not all. The event will feature more star attractions, star names and star cars that will be announced over the coming weeks.See the next issue of Motor Sport for the latest updates, and we look forward to seeing
you there in February.